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OPEC summit opens with Venezuela's call for political role for third world interests
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The third OPEC summit in the organization's 47-year history opened in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Saturday afternoon with a Venezuelan call for political role to serve the third world interests.


Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the host of the summit, presided over the opening ceremony while Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the host of the previous summit in 2000, gave the opening speech.


In the speech after a brief prayer, Chavez recalled the 47-year history of the OPEC and the previous two summits which was held in Algeria in 1975 and Caracas in 2000.


Chavez highlighted the importance of OPEC's political role in today's world, urging the oil cartel to show "leadership in the third world" to protect developing countries and encourage rational use of oil among them.


While denouncing the United State as the deep and underlined reason behind all, the Venezuelan president said all US aggression is for oil".


The only way to seek justice and peace in the world political system is to deepen cooperation among OPEC member states, he stressed.


Chavez also warned against a possible war on Iran or Venezuela, saying that "if there is a war, the world oil price would surge to 200 (US) dollars per barrel instead of the current 100 dollars."


For his part, King Abdullah also spoke at the occasion. He announced that OPEC will launch a fund to deal with development and environmental issues.


The OPEC fund of US$500 million will be launched to help developing countries to deal with development and global climate change, said the king, without elaborating more.


In OPEC's 47 years history, the oil cartel has been focusing on two points: protecting its members and guaranteeing the stable oil supply, said the king.


The leaders of the oil cartel's 12 member states, except Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, attended the opening ceremony of the current OPEC summit.


Indonesia was represented by Vice President Jusuf Kalla on behalf of President Susilo.


OPEC currently groups 12 member states of Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Venezuela.


It will re-accept Ecuador, a former member who withdrew in 1992, as a formal member during the summit.


Supplying 40 percent of the global oil demand and controlling 80 percent of the world reserves, OPEC produces about 32 million barrels of oil a day and the daily basket price, based on production in 12 different countries, stood at 87.01 dollars on Thursday.


The Libya-born OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri told a news conference on Thursday that development and environmental issues would remain prominent throughout this summit.


Amid surging oil prices and call from the United States to pump more output, this OPEC summit's schedule has ruled out discussion upon immediate measures to control the daily oil output, said Badri.


The oil market was well-supplied and currently there was no need to increase oil output, he added.


(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2007)

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